M.I.M.E.O. (Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra)

M.I.M.E.O. (Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra)

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M.I.M.E.O. stands for Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra, and it consists of as many as 11 of the leading exponents of late 20th century electronic improvisation. It's a heady mix and a heck of a balancing act with all the varied approaches, not to mention egos, involved. Run as a democratic ensemble but nominally fronted by Thomas Lehn and Peter Rehberg, with Keith Rowe as its eminence grise, the styles represented by its members range from slightly rock-oriented (Christian Fennesz and Rehberg) to relentlessly abstract, making for an unpredictable mixture, but one fairly guaranteed to hold interest. The pieces on this, their first album, are all live recordings from early in the band's existence. As such, there's a degree of hesitancy and a sense of a "feeling out" process that abated somewhat by their second release, Electric Chair and Table. Still, from the ethereal calm of the opening track through the rough and tumble of the next two and on to the churning, bell and explosion-filled maelstrom of a finale, there's ample evidence of keen musical minds at work, summoning a welter of fascinating sounds from their laptops, synths, and augmented strings. On the rare occasions when enough group members could be assembled for performances, M.I.M.E.O. would go on to even richer ground, areas where listening on the part of the musicians became more palpable, but this first recording is a strong signpost and, for the newcomer, a bracing leap into a beautiful alien world.

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